Beach Day by Rodger Bliss
April 2024

Another Max Gaetanno Mystery

Max got the call at 1am, waking him from a sound sleep. What shocked him into immediate awareness were the words: “We have a murder.” Max was in his car racing to the crime scene in minutes.

As he entered, he was greeted by Officer Brent. “What’s the scoop, Brent?” Officer Brent went on to give Max the Lowdown:

“The vic is somewhat famous, that’s why they called you. His name is Charlie Baker, AKA Cocktail Charlie. He was a famous mixologist, inventing many of the popular drinks they serve in fancy clubs and restaurants. He was having one of his famous parties this evening, and as it was winding down, he was found stabbed to death behind his own bar.”

How ironic, thought Max, as he looked around the room. Brent continued: “He must have saw the attack coming, because he grabbed a couple of bottles of booze just before he died. He probably was trying to ward off the attack with the only thing handy. He was, after all, behind the bar.”

Brent went on, “There were only five people in the house at the time, here’s a list of suspects for ya. It’s your ballgame now, Detective.”

Max looked the list over, here’s what it said:

Suspect 1: Mary Plazmar, Charlie’s girlfriend. She’s the one who found the body and called the police. Charlie and Mary had been together for ten years, but never married. As time went on, this became a bigger and bigger problem for Mary, but she usually kept quiet about this.

Suspect 2: Robert Corduroy III, he was Charlie’s business manager. They’d been working together for years and were inseparable. Corduroy managed Charlie’s appearances and book signings. As Charlie got on in years, he chose to do less and less work, and more and more partying. Corduroy was constantly hounding Charlie to “get to work,” but to little avail.

Suspect 3: Thomas Collinsworth, Charlie’s best friend. They would travel together. There were rumors that the two were more than friends, but they were just rumors as far as anyone was concerned. The rumors also said that he and Mary hated each other, for obvious reasons.

Suspect 4: Jack Danielson, Charlie’s money guy. He managed the millions of dollars Charlie made off of his books. Charlie loved to party but wasn’t very good with money. Word on the street was that Jack lived far beyond his means and had been possibly skimming money from Charlie’s accounts for years.

Suspect 5: Jonathon Walkerson, who happens to be heir to the Walkerson fortune. His father made it big in checkerboards in the early 1900’s. He and Charlie were old drinking buddies, and had gotten into a few bar room brawls together. He was a bear of a man that wasn’t considered too bright.

Max looked the list over quickly, but then focused on the dead body behind the bar. There were the normal paraphernalia you’d expect behind the bar of a master mixologist: Shot glasses, cork screws, glass pitchers, can openers, and different size measuring jiggers. What amazed Max was the stock behind the bar. He’s never seen so many bottles of booze in his life. Every name brand you could think of.

Lying on the floor of the bar was poor Charlie. Covered in blood, one hand clutching at the knife stuck in his back, the other hand clutching a bottle of Martini and Rossi, just as Officer Brent had reported. The smallish bottle had been no match for the huge knife that had done him in.

Just then, Officer Brent walked up and informed Max that the five suspects were in the sitting room, waiting to be interviewed.

“There’s only one of them I want to talk to, Officer. You see, I already know who the killer is.”

What tipped Max off to the killer’s identity?


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4 guesses to Another Max Gaetanno Mystery

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  • the two bottles were jack daniels and johnny walker witch were suspect numbers 4 and 5 .

  • Dude

    Nope, that’s not it, keep trying.

  • Paul

    Since he had a “smallish” bottle of vermouth in his hand, he must have intended to use it. Johnnie and Jack are brands of whiskey and a Tom Collins is made with gin. While I’m not clear on what a Plazmar might be, unless the key word is Mary, as in bloody – a vodka drink, the only name/type of drink that uses vermouth is a Rob Roy. So my assumption of the murderer’s identity is Robert Corduroy. Of course Rob could have had an accomplice since a Rob Roy needs scotch and you can’t beat a nice smooth tumbler filled with ice and Johnnie Walker Blue Label.

  • Dude

    You are correct!

    It was the bottle of Martini and Rossi in Charlie’s hand. Sweet Vermouth comes in smallish bottles. With cork screws and glass pitchers at his disposal, nobody would grab such a small bottle to ward off an attack. Sweet Vermouth is an ingredient in a Rob Roy, so Max instinctively suspected Robert Corduroy as the killer.

    You’re today’s winner.